FC Dallas weathers the storm in first win of the restart

FC Dallas finally returned to winning ways exactly six months since the season-opening 2-0 win over the Philadelphia Union.

After Wednesday’s postponement, FC Dallas coach Luchi Gonzalez stuck with his changes from the draw in Houston, keeping the 4-3-3 shape that was planned for the Colorado game. Ricardo Pepi made his first start for the club in place of Michael Barrios. Fafa Picault started on the left with Franco Jara dropping to the bench.

With Reggie Cannon heading for a move to Europe, Ryan Hollingshead returned to slot in at right back while Johnny Nelson resumed left back duties.

“I’m very happy, obviously to finally got the three points. It’s probably just our fifth or sixth game in but it’s our first win in six months! It’s a complicated year but we’re happy to get this one, and just happy to participate and be a part of it.”

Fafa Picault reflecting on the game

FC Dallas has been anything but a ‘first half team’ in 2020, but scored in the opening half for the first time this season in the 11th minute.

Bryan Acosta plays a cross-field pass to Fafa Picault on the left wing. As Romain Metanire hesitated to make a move, Picault cut in from the left before curling the ball in to Greg Ranjitsingh’s far post.

Just 90 seconds later a Picault cross clears everyone in the Loons’ box. Ricardo Pepi picks it up at the far post, cutting the ball back to Jesus Ferreira. Ferreira drops a shoulder and steps outside Michael Boxhall, finding the space to slot the ball low in the net from close to the edge of the six yard box.

Storms in the area triggered a 55-minute weather delay as the players returned to the locker rooms for half time. The players would have probably appreciated the rain on a day of record highs in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, but any rain stayed several miles away with storms visible both to the North and Southwest.

Minnesota United coach Adrian Heath made four changes at the break and saw a quick payoff in the 55th minute with two of his four substitues.

A poor pass out of the back from Matt Hedges was intercepted by Raheem Edwards, who played inside to Jan Gregus. Gregus gained his league-leading third assist of the season with a quick pass around Thiago Santos to Hassani Dotson. With the Dallas defense scrambling, Dotson smashed the ball into the top corner from 25 yards to halve the lead.

Minnesota began asserting some dominance in a higher press than the first half saw. Edwards would hit the post minutes later, Jimmy Maurer made a fantastic full-stretch save, Ryan Hollingshead would put the ball on the crossbar, and Jose Aja saw a goal chalked off for offside, but Minnesota United were not able to peg Dallas back further.

Luchi has experimented with three formations of late and used all three in the game. Starting with the 4-3-3, a Fafa Picault hamstring injury led to Bressan entering the game and switching to a 3-5-2. Bryan Reynolds would later replace Bryan Acosta as Dallas moved more aggressively to a 3-4-3.

“I felt like they were committing numbers against us wide. They had two new wingers that came into the game that were dynamic, Edwards and [Thomas Chacon]. They both came in and were quite dangerous so I just felt like we needed extra cover with the outside backs. We added an extra center back. That center back can cover outside backs, can cover in behind and he can break into the midfield.”

Luchi Gonzalez on the formation changes

The aggressive switch paid off late in stoppage time as Michael Barrios was brought down in the area by James Musa. Franco Jara eyed his first goal for the club, but captain Reto Ziegler ultimately took the spot kick to extend Dallas’ lead to 3-1 in the sixth and final minute of stoppage time.

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